One thing I’ve noticed while spending some time learning about internet services is that there are lots of people out there confused. Confused about how internet connections work, the different types available and the best connections for them. Because of the confusion, it’s all too easy for these people to overspend on their internet services.
Could you be overspending too?
7 Ways You’re Costing Yourself (Extra) Money
Below I’ve come up with 7 different ways that you might be costing yourself extra money each month in regards to your internet service. Even if you only find one that you’re doing each month, correcting the problem can save you tens, if not hundreds of dollars per month.
1. You Buy The Fastest Internet Plans
One mistake that people make is that they buy the fastest internet plans. In many cases I think they’re playing it safe, overcompensating “just in case.”
Better to have more, than not enough, right?
But little do they realize that this approach is costing them money.
The truth of the matter is, you don’t need the fastest internet plans. Most of you will be able to do just fine using a 5 or 10 Mbps connection — and maybe even less. You’ll still be able to browse the internet, check your email and Facebook page with no problem, watch the occasional movie or download music.
I wouldn’t bother with the higher bandwidth packages unless you plan on streaming lots of videos, downloading big files or sending hundreds of hi-res images. If you have a large family that is constantly online at the same time, then that would be a good reason too. But if not, do yourself a favor and downgrade, if possible, and you’ll save yourself $10, $20, $30 or more per month.
2. You Don’t Take Advantage of Free Wi-Fi Hotspots
Data is expensive, and with the caps and family plans carriers are putting into place it’s not going to get cheaper any time soon. In fact, the amount that people spend on data might go up considering all the new apps and services that are coming out that emphasize consuming it.
With that in mind, you should definitely take advantage of wi-fi hotspots, either in your own home at your local cafe, library or bookstore. Even if you’re forced to buy a beverage to sit inside Starbucks, it could very well be cheaper than the cost of the data that you’d use in a day.
More and more companies and cities are offering free wi-fi connections every day, too. So it’s only going to get easier to find free internet access.
3. You Regularly Exceed Your Data Caps
Like I said above, data plans are expensive. They’re even more expensive when you exceed your data limits.
For example, you could get 5GB of data for about $40 per month. However, many carriers have overage fees that will set you back $10 or $15 for every GB over your cap you go. That’s anywhere from a $2 to $7 increase per GB for going over. If you do this enough, it would just make sense to buy a larger plan.
So it would be a good idea to keep track of the data you use. Above, I was referring to mobile data, and there are numerous apps that help you keep track of your data usage. However, you can also keep track of your data on your fixed line by logging into your account online. Many internet providers also send out alerts when you’re getting too close to your cap.
Use this information to determine if it would make more sense to increase your cap (if possible), so that you avoid any costly overages. You might even consider reducing how much data you use, too.
4. Your Router is Unlocked
This is an easy one to overlook, but leaving your router unlocked is costing you money.
For one thing, if people are able to access your internet connection, they’re using up your data. Although the data caps are much higher for fixed lines compared to mobile, depending on what you use the internet for, someone piggybacking off your connection can be enough to send you over your limit.
What’s more is that when others use your internet, they hog your bandwidth. So essentially you’re getting a slower connection, even though you’re paying for a faster one.
5. You Buy 3G Devices (Compared to Wi-Fi Only or You Have Multiple Devices in One Home)
I think another mistake is buying 3G devices when you could buy wi-fi only devices instead. Not only do the 3G devices cost $50-$100+ more, but then you have to buy a mobile plan in order to use them while on the go.
If you don’t need to use 3G that often, you’re better off buying a wi-fi only device and trying to find wi-fi hotspots when you need to use the internet versus buying a data plan for “just in case.”
6. You’re Not Bundling When It Makes Sense
Bundling your services can save you quite a bit of money. It’s very easy to spend $150-$200+ every month if you’re paying for phone, TV and internet separately. However, if you bundle your services with one provider, you can cut that cost nearly in half.
The downside to bundling, however, is that it’s usually for a limited time. After your contract is up your bill will increase. That said, I’ve seen many threads and blog posts from customers who’ve had success talking to their provider and getting an extension on their old plan, or getting a new deal altogether for renewing their contract.
7. You’re Using a Local Service
Although I can certainly understand supporting local small businesses, or not having too many choices due to where you live, receiving your internet connection from a small, local ISP can be costing you money. From my experience I’ve seen small providers charge 25-50% more for similar connections provided by the nationwide providers. My best guess is that this is a supply/demand sort of thing, or just that they aren’t big enough to where they can afford to offer lower prices. Either way, if you don’t shop around first and just work with your local provider, you could be spending significantly more per month and year for the exact same service (and possibly less/worse).
So there you have it — 7 things you might be doing with your internet service that’s costing you more money. Just addressing one of these issues can save you hundreds of dollars per year, maybe even per month.
So, what do you think? Do you agree with what I said above? Is there anything that you’ve tried or done that has helped you save money on your internet bill? I’d like to hear about them.
About the author: Hi, my name is Matt. I’m one of the guys behind www.PlugThingsIn.com. My site helps people understand and find the best internet connections for their home or business.